6 April 2022: The body count; Judicial progress?; The holy grail?; & Beards, barbers and Bieber.

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza   

As is the norm, fotos of Ukrainian dead bodies in the Spanish media are far more graphic than in the UK at least. Blood and gore remain fascinating here.

The tribal nature of Spanish politics is oft commented on. One reflection of this is the – so far – 9 years battle to eliminate – or at least reduce – political bias in the appointment of Supreme Court judges. Reform is said to be a priority for the PM and the squeaky-clean new leader of the PP opposition party, Alberto Feijóo, but we wait to see if a new era is dawning.

If you’re the sort of person who thinks the Last Supper really took place and that that someone at it – or a waiter – thought to snaffle the cup that Jesus drank from, this video will fascinate you. On the preservation in Valencia’s cathedral of the true holy grail. Maybe.

This is a long train trip from north to south Spain that might be worth considering. I checked and found all seats booked in the near term.

It’s taken a while but the Franco-honouring plaques on the wall of a church in nearby Marín are finally being removed. But there are still 2 or 3 similar escudos adorning facades in Pontevedra city. Another 70 years? It’s a very conservative region, after all.


Really rather worrying . . . Richard North today: After “Bucha”, we can no longer assume that total defeat of the Russians on Ukrainian soil is out of the question. In fact, if the right technology is made available to the Ukrainians, in sufficient quantities – together with heavy weapons such as additional tanks – this must be considered a real possibility. The result, of course, could lead to Putin escalating the conflict, with the ever-present threat of him deploying tactical nuclear weapons. But such is the febrile atmosphere that caution is being suppressed. As the Russians have now retreated into self-delusion, they have little idea of what is coming, but defeat could be on its way. Amplified by the discovery of more “atrocities” in other liberated towns, that could be the ultimate legacy of Bucha.

A propos . . . The Russian military is undermined by massive corruption.  Don’t confuse the apparently dazzling achievements at the shiny end of the vast sums of money Russia has pumped in to weapons development with the day-to-day business of defence procurement and military supply. Russian hypersonic ballistic missiles may or may not perform as advertised, but more relevant to Ukraine are the creaking vehicles which have not been maintained, the inoperable tyres, the lack of rations, the old fashioned tank armour.


Virginal white right now, this isn’t the way Ukraine was viewed until quite recently. Before Zelinsky, it was seen as an extremely corrupt place and even he is alleged to be close to a billionaire Ukrainian oligarch. All forgotten, at least for the moment.

The Way of the World

From time to time, I sport a (trim) beard. Nothing unusual in Spain. The article below was naturally of interest. Those woke bastards are even worse than I thought.

Finally . . .

Here’s Justin Bieber with his partner:-

As someone has written: It calls to mind a toddler playing dress-up, or perhaps an errant youth going for his first job interview in his father’s hand-me-down. Let’s hope it catches on so that, walking the streets, we can have a laugh every day of the week.

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


JK Rowling is right. Woke men are ruining beards for the rest of us. Not long ago, facial hair was all but ubiquitous. Now, innocent men risk being mistaken for insufferable Left-wing ‘beardsplainers’: Michael Deacon, The Telegraph

Gillette says that sales of its razors have shot up 30% in the past year. You may think the reason is obvious. After letting themselves go during lockdown, men decided to smarten up for their return to the office. But I think the reason is actually very different. Most men simply daren’t wear a beard any more. Because they fear being mistaken for some insufferable, woman-hating woke activist.

There’s no getting away from it. Of late, beards have become synonymous with a very specific type of man. At the weekend, JK Rowling gave them a name: “beardsplainers”. These are men who, despite purporting to be impeccably progressive, appear to spend their every waking moment on social media belittling women. And, without exception, absolutely all of these men have beards. It’s an integral part of their look. Just as punks have mohicans and monks have shaved crowns, so woke men have beards.

As a result, I fear that facial hair will forever now be associated with Left-wing self-righteousness. It’s a sad thought. Once upon a time, beards were a proud symbol of British greatness. During the Victorian era, every self-respecting man in Britain had a beard the size of a yew tree. And those, don’t forget, were the days when Britain ruled the world. The zenith of our nation’s power and status. Can it really be mere coincidence that as the popularity of the beard waned over the course of the 20th century, so too did our country’s global influence? When Delilah had Samson’s hair chopped off, it sapped him of his strength. Shearing off our magnificent Victorian beards, it seems to me, had the exact same effect on Britain.

A decade ago, the beard at last roared triumphantly back into fashion. Among men in their 20s and 30s, facial hair became close to ubiquitous. But thanks to the rise of the unbearable beardsplainers, those days are now decisively over. As with everything else they touch, the woke have ruined beards for the rest of us.

For me the development is particularly distressing, because I often have a beard myself. My look veers between “chubby George Michael” and the full Captain Haddock. Yet now I suppose I’ll have to go to the bother of shaving every morning. Otherwise, strangers will take me for some preening, podcast-plugging brocialist. Nervous pedestrians will hurriedly cross to the other side of the road, for fear I’m about to lecture them about gender-critical feminists or late capitalism.

Thankfully, there is one small ray of hope. Volodymyr Zelensky, the hero of the hour, has excellent facial hair. And no one could possibly call him woke.

Once he’s finished saving Ukraine, perhaps he’ll save the beard, too.